Fluoride Action Network

Cairns doctors lash out at council decision to ignore fluoride petition

Source: The Cairns Post | October 27th, 2016 | By Jim Campbell
Location: Australia

FURIOUS Cairns medicos say they have “grave concerns” for the public health of the city following a decision by Cairns Regional Council to ignore medical advice on fluoride.

The council was presented with a petition this week from the Cairns Local Medical Association in support of water fluoridation – but the way it handled the matter has sparked uproar in the medical community.

The petition was signed by 134 local health professionals, including about 80 doctors, who were imploring the councillors to listen to the conclusive scientific evidence about fluoridation.

A resolution to receive the petition and request a report back from officers had been prepared before Wednesday’s meeting.

But in a move that has since been described by Cairns doctors as “ignorant” and “disrespectful”, Division 2 Councillor John Schilling changed the original resolution.

Upon receipt of a public petition the council has three options: to receive the petition, to receive it and request a rep­ort back from council officers, or to “not receive” the document.

A resolution to receive the petition and request a report back from officers had been prepared before Wednesday’s meeting.

But Cr Schilling changed the resolution to strike out the request for a rep­ort by officers.

His change was supported by his fellow councillors, except for councillors Richie Bates and Brett Moller and Mayor Bob Manning, who said the petition deserved a report back from officers.

But the three were outvoted.

CLMA spokeswoman and surgeon Sarah Coll said the move raised serious concerns about the council’s governance process.

“We’re very disappointed that something we put so much effort into was treated with such disregard,” Dr Coll said.

“If that’s how the council treats medical opinion then I’ve got grave concerns for our community.”

Dr Coll said the community had a right to expect councillors to do their due diligence on decisions.

“If they want to go to medical school and learn how to be a doctor it’s only six years, and then it’s only 10 years on top of that for post-grad training.

“But if they’re not prepared to do that they should take their advice from medical professionals.

“You can’t learn everything on the internet.”

Cairns doctor Catherine Hellier said the council was letting down the poorest and most vulnerable in the community.

“Quite simply council is too cheap and too weak to stand up against the vocal minority in the interests of better health for the community,” she said.